Wednesday 26 July 2017

Parkinson's won't halt Margaret's marathon effort

Breda Heffernan and Nick Bramhill

PARTS of the capital will be off limits to traffic until this evening as thousands of people complete the Dublin City Marathon.

Merrion Square north and east will remain closed until 7.30pm to facilitate the finish of the race, which this year has attracted a record entry of more than 14,000.

A number of main routes will be closed for periods during the day from before the race starts at 9.50am on Fitzwilliam Street Upper.

Drivers who usually use the N2, N3 and N7 to get to the city were being asked to use the M50/N4 to access the city centre from 8.30am to 10.30am and 9am to 12.30pm in the case of the N7.

Traffic travelling to the city centre from the M1 has been diverted down Upper Gardiner Street when it reaches Dorset Street from 8.30am to 9.45am.

People travelling on the N2 towards the city centre have been advised to use the M50/N4 to access city centre due to traffic restrictions in the Phibsboro area from 8.30am to 10.30am.

The N81 will be open for buses only.

Motorists have also been advised that severe traffic restrictions will be place in Merrion Square, Nassau Street, and St Stephen's Green areas of the city.

A full list of the closures is available at www.dublinmarathon.ie.

Meanwhile, an inspirational mother who has battled Parkinson's disease for the past seven years has vowed to cross the finish line at today's race, no matter what.

Margaret Mullarney (55), from Ballinteer in south Dublin, will be presented with the inaugural Lord Mayor's Medal before the race gets under way.

The medal has been introduced to acknowledge an individual who has overcome incredible odds to take part in the marathon.

It will be a family affair for Margaret, who will be supported by her children, Nikki (28) and David (24), who will walk the 26-mile course with her. Her husband and trainer, Michael, will oversee her progress.

Margaret will have to take regular breaks for medication and food to ensure she remains mobile for the entire race.

"We're so proud of Mum for doing this,' said Nikki.

"This time last year, she said to me, 'I'm going to do the marathon next year.' And I just thought she was mad to even think it. But since then, she's trained every day, whatever the weather, and has completed two half-marathons in Glasgow and Limerick.

Margaret was diagnosed with the progressive neurological disorder seven years ago and has had to give up her career as a successful solicitor.

However, Nikki said her mother has lost none of her fighting spirit and still takes on immense challenges such as the marathon.

"I'm amazed at her spirit and bravery. She's doing this to show other sufferers that just because you have Parkinson's, it doesn't mean your life has to stop."

Irish Independent

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